Sunday, April 25, 2010

Christie's Green Auction: over $1.3 million for NGOs

On Earth Day 2010, the famous Christie's auction house held an event to benefit several conservation organizations - Christie's Green Auction: a bid to save the Earth. With an auction to bid on a long list of luxury items ranging from a trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic to lunch with Vera Wang, the well-heeled participated (with an additional silent auction that will conclude on May 6th) in support of Oceana, Conservation International, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Central Park Conservancy.

A little too rich for your blood? Only for the celebrities and upper-crust who only care about the environment if there's an opportunity to enjoy a day of sailing with the Rockefellers as a reward?

SO . . . WHAT!

Conservation and research groups around the world struggle for every bit of funding they can get. Whether it's scrambling for pennies or going for high society gold, it all ends up in the same place, with organizations who need funding to bring about public awareness and provide critical information for policy and decision-makers. So, if you're a down-in-the-trenches, scrounging-for-what-you-can-get kind of conservationist, please don't view these types of events with disdain.

Yeah, I too couldn't afford to bid on a pair of tickets to the pit suites at the Singapore Grand Prix or a walk in Central Park with Candice Bergen. Maybe next year . . . or many years after that. But in the meantime, according to a recent press release, the auction has raised $1,387,000USD, with more to come after the silent auction concludes.

Fundraising is as challenging in many ways as the environmental issues these organizations are confronting. As long as it is well spent (and that is a critical criteria: Is the organization accomplishing anything?), then VIP events for the well-to-do are just as valid as grass root campaigns.

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